“It’s not often your study gets interrupted by the thing you are studying,” started Dr. Larry Dale during a breakout session at the 2018 EPIC Symposium held this last Wednesday at the Sacramento Convention center.  Dr. Dale had been studying the impact of wildfires on the transmission and distribution grid when last fall’s havoc broke out in Southern California.

Fires, earthquakes, and don’t forget rising oceans, are all on the horizon for CA in this climate changing world; luckily California has several ongoing efforts to make the grid more resistant to catastrophic events. Check out Blue Lake Rancheria’s Microgrid presented by Energy Director Jana Ganion, the developing utility owned community Microgrid at Borrego Springs presented by Chief Engineer Dr. Tom Bialek, and Eos Energy Storage, a diverse storage technology to promote higher resiliency presented by VP of Sales Jim Morgenson. All the panelists highlighted their tools and successes against the threat of extreme weather events, and moreover reminded us that increased awareness of the need to enhance the power grid resiliency is critical now more than ever.

Beyond power system resilience, EPIC tackled a number of clean energy innovation topics inclusive of highly efficient buildings, battery storage for grid operations, accurate forecasting for the modern grid, and how all these solutions can be scaled to benefit disadvantaged communities and low-income customers.

New incubators and accelerators are popping up to meet these challenges and encourage clean energy innovation. Blue Tech Valley (BTV) is a prime example of this and the first major movement to accelerate entrepreneurship in the San Joaquin Valley.  Panelist Dr. David Zoldoske of California University Fresno stated that the hurdle for agriculture is “shining a light on our challenges” and  “educating Silicon Valley”.  Agriculture Tech is a billion dollar industry and huge opportunity for clean energy innovation, however the modern entrepreneur must adapt to the different paces of the farming world in order to be effective.

EPIC’s 2018 symposium highlighted some of California’s greatest clean energy opportunities and challenges in the coming decades. The conversation caught CleanStart’s attention, and with a turn out three times that of the previous year, we weren’t the only ones.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate is a recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and has a strong background in entrepreneurship and global politics. After helping launch an AgTech startup on the central coast, Kate is back in her hometown looking to take her experience into the world of Cleantech and help grow the Sacramento region.


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